Olivier Giroud is a late bloomer. The forward first came to the fore at Montpellier in 2010, and two years later, he led them to the Ligue 1 title.
Since then, the 27-year-old has become a world famous player. After a rather mediocre debut season at Arsenal in 2012-13, the Frenchman stepped up his game in the last campaign and helped the Gunners win the FA Cup – their first major silverware since 2005.
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Giroud did not feature for France’s youth teams and was called straight to the senior squad for friendly matches in November 2011 by then coach Laurent Blanc (who is currently the manager of Paris Saint-Germain). Since then, the former Grenoble and Tours striker has been a regular for Les Bleus.
The Arsenal forward is not regarded as one of the best players in the world and there have been suggestions that Gunners manager Arsene Wenger needs to sign another striker not just to complement him, but to replace him in the starting line-up.
However, no one can take away Giroud’s moment of history on Friday when he scored France’s first goal against Switzerland in their Group E clash at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.
Mathieu Valbuena swung in a corner and the Frenchman planted his header firmly past Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio. It was the first of five goals for the 1998 World Cup winners, as they went on to clinch the match 5-2 to make it two wins out of two.
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The goal from Giroud was his first at a World Cup and was France’s 100th in the football's biggest competition, making the striker ‘very proud’.
‘I’m very proud to have scored France’s 100th goal in a World Cup’, Sky Sports quotes him as saying. ‘At the start of La Marseillaise, I nearly collapsed. The emotion was too strong’.
France have made a strong start to the World Cup and have scored eight goals in two matches, picking up six points in the process. Didier Deschamps’ side are set to clinch Group E and are looking very good to go far in Brazil.
Giroud himself looks very confident and his performance so far has been very impressive. Whether he can carry this form in the coming games remains to be seen.